Rental sites like Airbnb aren’t as innocuous as they pretend

The pushback from Airbnb suggests that there’s more to the phenomenon than a few families making a few bucks. Airbnb describes the influx of casual lodgers into residential neighborhoods as though it’s an unalloyed blessing. In an appeal this spring directed at small-business owners in San Francisco, the firm bragged that ‘72% of Airbnb properties are outside of traditional hotel districts, in neighborhoods that haven’t benefited from tourism in the past.’That’s a boon to businesses in those outlying districts, the firm implied.

City officials and many of their constituents aren’t so sure. ‘We want short-term rentals to be part of San Francisco,’ says Dave Campos, a San Francisco County supervisor who proposed stricter regulations. ‘But there’s a commercial short-term rental industry that buys entire buildings and rents them all out. That’s changing the character of the neighborhood and taking housing stock away from people who need it. Read full article.

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